Archive for Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tired treads can be driving danger

Kevin Parris, Oskaloosa, works to repair a tire in the back shop of D&D Tire Inc., 1000 Vt., on Tuesday. Phil Dwyer, owner of D&D, explained that blowouts occur in the summer because in hot temperatures, a tire cannot dissipate heat fast enough, which can cause the tire to wear much faster than in cooler temperatures.

Kevin Parris, Oskaloosa, works to repair a tire in the back shop of D&D Tire Inc., 1000 Vt., on Tuesday. Phil Dwyer, owner of D&D, explained that blowouts occur in the summer because in hot temperatures, a tire cannot dissipate heat fast enough, which can cause the tire to wear much faster than in cooler temperatures.

July 21, 2010

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Hot weather leads to more tire blowouts

AAA had 1,000 tire calls in June alone. Enlarge video

Tire Safety Tips

• Following routine vehicle maintenance can be key in preventing tire blowouts. Check air pressure and tire tread depth frequently. Low air pressure can cause the tire to overheat more quickly and a low tread depth makes it easier for a tire to pick up road debris.

• Make sure your tires aren’t worn. Because rubber breaks down faster on old tires, they are more vulnerable to tire blowouts. Tires should be replaced every six years, D&D Tire owner Phil Dwyer said.

• If a blowout does occur, maintain control of your car and steer it to the right side of the road as quickly as possible to prevent further damage to the wheel, said Lt. Edna Buttler with the Kansas Highway Patrol. Don’t overreact or overcorrect, she said. If you hear any noise or notice a problem, pull over as soon as you can.

• Before you have a tire problem, know whom you are going to call for help. If you have roadside assistance, have the membership policy number easily accessible.

On a hot day last month, Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. Edna Buttler arrived at the scene of an accident.

A young driver of an old car had lost control of the vehicle and smashed into a mailbox.

The culprit? A blown tire.

“It had been hot for a week at least and it was an older car, so there is no telling when the maintenance of the tire was checked,” Buttler said. “Tire pressure, wear and tear — those things are always important to monitor.”

Tire trouble is more common during summer months. On hot days, low air pressure can cause tires to overheat and add pressure to the side walls of the tire. That causes the rubber to start coming apart and creates a hole. Eventually, the tire blows.

“I’ve been on for nine years and I haven’t seen (a tire blowout) during any of the cooler months,” Buttler said.

AAA in Kansas also sees more tire-related calls in summer than the rest of the year, spokeswoman Betty Oliva said. In June alone, AAA had more than 1,000 tire-related calls in the state.

About 270 accidents were caused by tire blowouts in 2008, according to data from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

At Gregg Tire Co., 4661 W. Sixth St., store manager Steve Aldrich said that in the summertime, the store sees a big increase in customers who need new tires after a blowout.

“One of the more critical things is that people don’t check their tire pressure often enough and as a tire gets low, especially with the hot, hot conditions outside, it overheats quickly, which causes a blowout,” Aldrich said.

About 90 percent of the time, the driver and vehicle come out of the situation unharmed.

“They just blow out and (drivers) end up going to the side of the road and put their spare on,” Aldrich said.

At D&D Tire, 1000 Vt., workers most frequently see blowouts on the first really hot day of the year, owner Phil Dwyer said. On average, the downtown tire shop sees drivers come in with blown tires one to two times a day.

“The hotter the temperature, the hotter the tire and the more likely you are going to have a failure,” Dwyer said. “It happens when it’s hottest.”

Comments

imastinker 4 years, 8 months ago

Great article!!

There's no excuse for low tire inflation or worn out tread. I see it all the time, but it's cheap to fix a leak and you can buy used tires so easily now with craigslist.

Adrienne Sanders 4 years, 8 months ago

I once had a tire blow out on the day after Thanksgiving. Definitely wasn't due to it being so hot out.

imastinker 4 years, 8 months ago

Most all tire blowouts happen because of overloading or underinflation. Both conditions cause the tires to heat up pretty rapidly, and even in cold weather they can still blow apart.

What happens is the heat breaks down the rubber and adhesives in the tire and allow it to delaminate and come apart. It's just like what happened to all those Explorers with the Firestone tires. Even those didn't typically come apart unless they were underinflated or overloaded. In that case the temperature at which they came apart was much lower than it should have been, but still higher than most tires see in normal use.

countrygirl 4 years, 8 months ago

I had one go to pieces on me in December. Thin tires on a gravel road--just shredded the thing. Lucky for me it was on the back and I wasn't going very fast. Couldn't figure out for a bit why the back end was trying to get in front of the front end!

Danielle Brunin 4 years, 8 months ago

"'It had been hot for a week at least and it was an older car, so there is no telling when the maintenance of the tire was checked,' Buttler said."

Okay, I know I haven't had enough coffee yet, but this struck me as kind of funny. After all, if a person drives an older car, clearly they don't maintain it. Was she politely saying that it was a run-down junky car? I'm probably just sensitive because I recently realized that my '97 Camry is starting to be considered old. ;) It is well maintained though.

Danielle Brunin 4 years, 8 months ago

Thanks! I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed that.

imastinker 4 years, 8 months ago

I wondered the same thing. Most people would define all my cars as old.

I take care of them very well. Most people are surprised how much money I'll spend fixing an "old" car. I suppose it seems easy when there's no payments.

Danielle Brunin 4 years, 8 months ago

Totally agree. If you keep on top of maintenance, it doesn't cost that much and not having a car payment is totally worth it, in my opinion!

labmonkey 4 years, 8 months ago

No matter what car you have, it is a good idea to buy good tires.... that is what is in contact with the road and what stops you. Personally, I buy the best Coopers I can get. They are American made and have done me well over the years. Although I can easily afford them now, I did this even when I was hard up for money. I figured it was cheaper to buy expensive tires than to fix a wrecked vehicle.

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